First Time Build - BiB - Questions

cipriano

Member
2010-12-02 4:17 am
Hello,
So I have always wanted to build my own speakers but never knew where to start. Seems like a full range BiB would be a good place to start, no? No WAF factor to consider, love big speakers and I'm a decent woodworker with tools. I've looked over the Zillaspeak site and the BiB threads but still have some questions.

1. Would my Onkyo TX-8511 (which is 100wpc) work well with BiB's or would it be too much? For example the Pioneer B20FU20 driver says 85 watts max.

2. Internal wiring? Is it as easy as soldering speaker wire from the driver to the inside of the terminal plate? And do you want to keep the wire inside the cabinet as short as possible? Another option would be just running it out the open top and straight to the amp, uninterrupted, with no terminal plates. Sloppy but effective maybe? Also what gauge wire do I want to use inside?

3. Which driver? 90% of my listening is reggae, so I need a driver that is stronger on bass. Of course the level of damping has alot to do with bass, so maybe I could reduce damping. But are their specific full-range drivers that are simply better in producing natural bass? I'm leaning towards the Pioneer because the price is right and the plans linked to in the BUFO BiB thread are quite thorough. Though I don't wanna add any tweaters in order to keep it simple.

4. Electronics - my speak spot. I can solder but that's about it. Thus my affinity for the BiB. That's all there is right? No crossovers, filters , etc?

Thanks for any advice, and if there are any threads I missed that have already answered these questions please feel free to tell me.
 
The Onkyo will be fine with the B20 imo. I think the B20 can handle more power than many full range drivers. You will never need to use the full output from that amp and be careful not to accidentally turn the volume too far up! If the B20 is at ear height and aimed at the listening position you may not feel the need for a tweeter but i prefer it with a tweeter. After listening to them stock for a while, you might want to try removing their dustcaps. Removed, i feel they sound more open and less congested.

Pioneer B20, BOFU modifications - remove dustcap to improve sound

To retain the full range driver look you can add a tweeter on the rear. I've done this with the B20 and it sounds great. Of course you can also add one to the front. I am going to buy a little Dayton dome tweeter (nd20fa-6) and try it. I've only used the B20s with piezos and want to hear them with a dome for a change.

Dayton ND20FA-6 3/4" Neodymium Dome Tweeter | Parts-Express.com

Goldwood GT-1005 Wide Dispersion Piezo Tweeter | Parts-Express.com

Also, there is this driver. Never seen or heard it before but i have one on order.

GRS 8FR-8 Full-Range 8" Speaker Pioneer Type B20FU20-51FW | Parts-Express.com

As far as wiring the BIB you will get varying opinions. I used Cat 5 in mine but did not hear any audible difference between it and simple 16 guage speaker wire. When i build my next one i am going to use 16 guage.

If you run the speaker wire directly from the driver to the amp you may accidentally pull the wire from the driver when moving the speakers around or while playing with stuffing. I recommend terminating them somehow or being creative with knots so you don't ruin the amp or the driver.

I think a B20 BIB or even Chang/Half Chang will work great with the B20... even sealed or ported boxes work great with this driver. And for bass heavy music, it's tough to beat the B20. But it's not the last word in detail and speed. Having said that, it's a very enjoyable driver that's easy to live with for years.

If you need help with wiring just ask and you will get all the info you need.

Zilla
 

cipriano

Member
2010-12-02 4:17 am
Thanks very much for the info. If I add the tweeter how much does that complicate the internal wiring? Or is it just as easy as running two sets of 16 gauge off the interior of the terminal plate? One to the full range and one to the tweeter? Or is there a crossover involved? Like I said, the electronics will be my weak spot. :)
 
>>> If I add the tweeter how much does that complicate the internal wiring?

It's easy. If you choose a piezo you connect a resistor to both the plus and minus. Then you connect a capacitor to just the plus. Then run wires to the terminals.

If you choose a dome all you do is connect a capacitor to the plus and run the wires to the terminals.

The full range driver just has wires running from it to the terminals.

I can make a diagram for you.

Zilla
 

cipriano

Member
2010-12-02 4:17 am
>>> If I add the tweeter how much does that complicate the internal wiring?

It's easy. If you choose a piezo you connect a resistor to both the plus and minus. Then you connect a capacitor to just the plus. Then run wires to the terminals.

If you choose a dome all you do is connect a capacitor to the plus and run the wires to the terminals.

The full range driver just has wires running from it to the terminals.

I can make a diagram for you.

Zilla

That would be awesome if you don't mind. I checked out your page where you had pictures of the radio shack tweeter with the resistor and capacitor hooked up. So I got the general idea (I hope anyway). Any ideas on which resistor and capacitor I would need specifically to tame the Goldwood Piezo you linked to. Thanks again.
 

cipriano

Member
2010-12-02 4:17 am
Okay, so I finished them up tonight! First off, they are huge and heavy. The name (bigger is better) should have tipped me off when I was planning this. :) Sorry I don't have pictures but I'm not into digital cameras. For construction I used OSB plywood and some Behr interior paints that I had on hand. They are two-tone, tan and purple. I didn't add a tweeter in order to keep it simple. My speakers for the past 6 years have been Sony SS-MF750H 3-way floorstanders. These have thousands of hours on them so are well broken in. Before hooking up the B20's I listened to a favorite song on the Sonys ( Losing Your Affection by The Future Bible Heroes). Then I switched the speaker wire to the B20's and played the same song. My first reaction was "Boy this full-range thing really does sound different". I was kind of puzzled and wondered if all my work was worth it. So I tried the Sony's again and instantly I noticed how harsh, bright and weedy they sounded. No wonder I get fatigued easily when listening to a whole album. Seriously, I don't think I could go back to them if I had to. So after listening to one album here are my thoughts so far on the B20's in a BIB:

1. Very smooth and mellow, almost a soothing quality.
2. I could almost swear that the music is playing slower and is more relaxed. Not as frenetic. But I know that's not the case - or is it?
3. Slightly congested sound(which I'm hoping will open up once they break in. Only 45 minutes of listening so far)
4. Forget the standard 12:00 settings on the amplifier tone controls. The bass can stay at noon but the treble needs to be bumped up for a more lively presentation.
5. Sounds just fine with a SS amp. I was worried about this because everybody here seems to use exotic amps with FR drivers.

I'm excited enough about these that I actually have tipped my toes into the SACD waters. My CD player is an Oppo DVD player which is SACD capable but I've never even bothered. With my new full-rangers I want to venture into that realm so I ordered Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" on SACD. We'll see how that goes! :) Thanks for all the advice. I'm glad I went through with it.
 
Valve / single-ended SS amps are usually used with wideband drivers partly because the latter are usually reasonably efficient, and also because the amps often have a fairly high output impedance, which matches well to the more highly damped (low Q) drivers out there. The B20 isn't quite so fussy & is perfectly happy with a decent SS amp. OTOH, it doesn't go particularly high, so I'm not surprised you needed to crank the tone control a bit -it really does like to be run with a tweeter filling in the top. BOFU -- Pioneer B20FU
 
I let mine run for about 100 hours before putting them in the living room, and it was amazing how much they changed. I wired them out of phase and faced the cabinets about 1/8" apart in the garage. The harshness mellowed and the bass filled in very nicely. My girls are listening to Disney tunes on them as I type. :)
Mine will be going in a MLTL as soon as I recover from the holiday.
 

cipriano

Member
2010-12-02 4:17 am
Okay, so I'm about 25 hours in to breaking these in and I have a concern. The right speaker sounds great when isolated. The left sounds bad when isolated. I tried 2 different CD's and an LP to make sure it wasn't the mastering. It wasn't. The right speaker is pretty much carrying the load. Is it too early in the break-in process to judge? I was careful in wiring to make sure they were phased correctly. And they are both placed in corners, no difference there. Thanks for any input.
 

cipriano

Member
2010-12-02 4:17 am
Ahh, thank you Jimbro! I switched at the amp and very little change (might have been imagined). So I pulled the driver and, indeed, I screwed up the wiring of the driver. - to + and vice-versa. :rolleyes: Fortunately I used clips rather than soldering so it was quick fix. I thought I was paying close attention during installation, but...

So now the left driver is sounding about 75% as good as the right driver. Before it was about 40% as good. I think it will catch up now that it's phased properly.

After 35 hours of break-in these Pioneer B20's are sounding real good. In fact they are beginning to reveal weak links upstream. My el-cheapo Aiwa turntable now sounds very limited, whereas the Sony 3-way's made all my components sound the same.

Sorry if I'm boring people with my updates! :)
 
It is sad about the B20 being discontinued... i have the GRS on order and hope to get my pair soon. I will directly compare them to the B20 but regardless of how they compare i hope the GRS offer good value for us full rangers...

I bought the 8" PE buyout full range speaker (it's a ceiling speaker) and hooked it up recently. After some extended listening it's a bit garbled thru its entire range. I hope the GRS is an upgrade.
 
So now the left driver is sounding about 75% as good as the right driver. Before it was about 40% as good. I think it will catch up now that it's phased properly.

It could also a placement related characteristic. I know BOFU BiBs are not easy to move around but unless one is one beside the other and as such room influence can be reasonably discarded (25% difference), I would try swapping the BiBs and hear if the difference in sound is associated to a given driver / enclosure.
I don't suggest just swapping drivers because too much fiddling with the screws in the wood will have nasty consequences. And to me, at least is easier to just move the enclosure than disassembling.

Gaston
 

cipriano

Member
2010-12-02 4:17 am
ghpicard,
Yes, I'm definitely afraid of taking out the drivers again. The screw holes are really close to the baffle cutout and this OSB chipboard isn't the strongest stuff at the edges. I think they are sounding fantastic - now about the 50 hour mark, but maybe I'll try rearranging them if need be.

I am COMPLETELY sold on the full range experience. I never realized what a hot mess my Best Buy Sony 3-ways were until now. Glad I bought a pair of Pioneer BOFU's before they sold out. If I hadn't, I'd probably try a pair of those "Purple" speakers from Wild Burro.
 

PKNJ

Member
2008-10-03 5:57 pm
It is sad about the B20 being discontinued... i have the GRS on order and hope to get my pair soon. I will directly compare them to the B20 but regardless of how they compare i hope the GRS offer good value for us full rangers...

I bought the 8" PE buyout full range speaker (it's a ceiling speaker) and hooked it up recently. After some extended listening it's a bit garbled thru its entire range. I hope the GRS is an upgrade.

I didn't know the BOFU was discontinued. Thanks for the info. I hope the GRS is an acceptable substitute. I'm sure you'll let us know.